EDGARTOWN, MASS. President Barack Obama wrapped up a 10-day vacation Saturday that was blissfully free of the news emergencies that have interrupted some of his past getaways.
Grim economic reports cast an inescapable shadow over the first family’s stay in Martha’s Vineyard, and tough tasks on Iraq and the Middle East await the president in Washington after a stop in New Orleans today on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
But during his time on this lovely island, the president never once had to shed his leisure wear to step in front of the podium and address a national emergency or matter of state. So as the first family hit the beach under picture-perfect skies Saturday for their last day away, they could celebrate an apparent end to what had become something of a vacation jinx.
On Obama’s first extended presidential vacation, last August’s Martha’s Vineyard trip, the somber news of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s death required Obama to leave the island for the senator’s funeral. Also last year on Martha’s Vineyard, Obama renominated Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chairman.
Then there was Hawaii over Christmas and New Year’s. Obama had barely arrived when Christmas Day brought the attempted terror attack on a Detroit-bound airliner, forcing the president to spend the subsequent days conferring with his national security team between golf outings.
These past days on Martha’s Vineyard, by contrast, the only thing that kept Obama off the golf course was a spell of stormy weather. And even that didn’t dampen his enjoyment as he holed up with his family and friends to read and play Scrabble and board games at a rented 30-acre farm with private beach.